> 1. Is it possible to disable the GUI Event mechanisms, like the clicking on a button (temporarily while dealing with another event)? I am thinking that this might prove less stressful to the GUI.
It is possible to disable widgets, one by one and by hand, but I doubt this will speed up the general execution time
Even more work and no speed boost expected, imho.
> The size of the grid is quite large (up to thousands of cells)..
this is quite a lot of stuff but I'd expect a slow show up, to draw everything, but no broken functionalities: in my Tartaglia-s-triangle if I ask for a triangle with 127 rows it take several seconds to draw it, but then it works as expected.
> I quite often get a "UpdateWrapper: Failed to create container"
this error only appears at tkWinWm.c#L1940 and the function being called is UpdateWrapper which seems to me something that modifies an existing window: are you (over?)modifying the whole window while the program runs?
Reinvent the wheel, then learn The Wheel; may be one day you reinvent one of THE WHEELS.